"It's really important to bridge this gap of traditional powertrains for traditional trucks to electrified trucks," he added. "There's a million ways to solve the electrification problem or come up with a solution for pickup trucks. But there's probably a lot of wrong ways to do it."
The Canadian megasupplier's eBeam is an electrified axle that uses a traditional beam axle architecture and places the electric motor and gearbox directly on that solid rear axle.
The eBeam integrates with a full battery-electric or hybrid vehicle powertrain and is available with single or dual motors. More significantly for development schedule purposes, the approach can take place without requiring the introduction of unique suspension, chassis or brake systems, and while preserving towing and payload capacity.
"Because this segment of the market is so important to our customers, and there's so much volume at stake here, it's important to come up with solutions quickly and effectively to get drivers into the seats of those vehicles," Shaw said.
"We really wanted to make sure we were able to meet or exceed what today's vehicles are capable of," Shaw said. "If the full-size truck segment is actually going to be electrified, I want to be a part of it to make sure it's done right, with real truck owners in mind."
Not having to change an entire vehicle platform to electrify it is Magna's biggest selling point for the eBeam, in terms of time to market.
"It's a really big undertaking to completely change a platform in the auto industry, especially one where the volumes are as high as these full-size pickup trucks are," Shaw said. "If you can maintain some of those pickup points and overall integration strategy, it becomes a nice, smoother transition into the electrification sector for these vehicles."
The company is working with customers that it is not yet permitted to reveal and expects to demonstrate the technology later this year.
"Our product offers something for our customers that they can essentially drop into their existing frame and chassis architectures," he added. "We're utilizing the existing suspension and brake pickup points, and a lot of the same packaging space that their existing systems or architectures have."